Moving my iPhone 5 to Net10 Wireless

After T-Mobile didn’t work out for me, I decided to try Net10 Wireless.  Net10 Wireless offers a Bring your Own Phone Plan that lets you use your phone from ATT or T-Mobile.  Net10 Wireless is a what’s known in the industry as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator, or MVNO for short.  Unlike ATT, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint, an MVNO doesn’t actual own a their cell phone network.  An MVNO buys cell phone service in bulk and resell it to customers under their own brand.

In Net10’s case, they buy service from both ATT and T-Mobile so that they can offer customers cell service nationwide.  If you own an iPhone, this is great news because the ATT version of the iPhone will work very well.  I signed up for Net10’s Nationwide Unlimited Data, Text, and Talk Plan for $50 a month.


Remember that I paid full price for my iPhone, $649. That’s $450 more than if I bought one with a 2 year contract.  The Net10 service is  $50 a month. If you sign up for the auto-enroll plan, you save $5, so the cost is $45 a month.

At a savings of $40 a month, I would be paying off the difference in cost of my  iPhone in a little over 11 months. The difference between $649 – $199 = $450. $450 / $40 = 11.2 months.


With Net10 Wireless, I am enjoying a number of advantages. First is the cost savings, which is actually a little less expensive than the  T-Mobile option I had. The next major benefit is 4G data speeds and better call quality because Net10 is using the ATT network.


While I get 4G data speeds with my iPhone 5 on Net10, I am not getting LTE, the fastest type of 4G service that ATT offers. LTE support was one of the big improvements in the iPhone 5. ATT does not currently offer LTE service to any of their MVNOs or their own prepaid service plans.

Getting your phone set up with Net10 is harder than T-Mobile was. With T-Mobile, I went into the retail store in the mall. For Net10, it was a do-it-yourself process.

I had to spend $15 to buy a SIM card. I bought mine at RadioShack. If I had to do it again, I’d would have shopped online or ordered from eBay and found one that was a cheaper.

The package comes with three SIM cards. You choose the one that is right for your phone. There are two for the ATT network and one for T-Mobile. Unfortunately, Net10 doesn’t include a nano SIM card for the iPhone 5. To make this work, you need to cut the SIM card to fit in your phone. It’s not hard to do, but it is not as easy as standing in the store while a salesman does all the work.

Finally, after getting your SIM card ready and paying for service. You need to configure your phone for the Web and MMS or picture messaging to work.  None of this is rocket science, mind you, but it is a extra work, that you won’t need to go through if you used ATT, Verizon, Sprint or even T-Mobile.

I plan on posting a step-by-step guide on the site to help you use your iPhone with Net10.

As of this writing, I am still using Net10 and happy with the service. I may however soon be switching to StraightTalk.




  1. Colby | |

    You said you might be switching to Straight Talk. May I ask why?

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Colby,
      Net10 and Straight Talk are owned by the same parent company. Straight Talk is basically the Walmart exclusive version of Net10. It was $5 a month cheaper. $60 a year is an extra month of service.

      I wrote that article many months ago, back when Straight Talk used to offer both the ATT and T-Mobile SIM cards. Now, they only sell the T-Mobile ones. Net10 still sells both ATT and T-Mobile SIM cards. If you are using an iPhone, you are better off on the ATT network. Check out.


  2. Angelica Pollard | |

    Thank you for your post about this. I’m in your same situation, but I have an iphone 5 with sprint that is locked. Do I just insert my net10 sim card in it and have it working without unlocking the phone? I’m hesitant to cut my net10 sim card into a nano sim size because if it doesn’t work then I waste my $50 plan I had just started with net10 on my iphone 4.

    Thanks a lot for your time!

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Angelica,
      I can’t answer 100% that it will work or not. Some people say your phone must be unlocked. Others say it worked fine for them. I scanned the comments on and we have maybe one person who got a sprint iPhone working using a GPP SIM unlock kit.

      I’d start by asking Sprint to unlock your iPhone. Stress the international use.

      In the mean time, if you have a friend with an iPhone 5 on att or tmobile try their SIM. See what happens.

      I’ll check my emails from other readers and see if I find anyone who has it working. If you search the comments from Gary, you will see the reader with the GPP Sim unlock.


    • james | |

      just wantn to know did it work

    • james | |

      did your iphone work on net 10

      • Bob Thompson | |

        Hi James,
        Yes. There are many articles and guides on smartphonematters that explain the limitations are describe what you need to do to set up your phone. If you are looking to change from ATT to prepaid service, you have options. If you are interested, we have a number of articles on the web site that can tell you about your choices and what you need to know to make an informed choice.

        Let me know if you would like some help understanding your options.


  3. Miri | |

    What about the opposite situation? I bought my iphone5 through te net 10 websitE (full price) however i get ZERO service with Net 10 at my house, and would like to switch to Att pay as you go. The Net 10 service rep said that there was no way to unlock my Net 10 iphone 5. True? Or false? Thanks!

    • Bob Thompson | |

      Hi Miri,
      If you paid full price for your iPhone it can and probably already is unlocked. The question is, and it is not clear from the Net10 web site is what model iPhone are you using. Are you using a SIM in your iPhone? Do you know if it a verizon model. Straight Talk the sister company to Net10 also sells iPhones but they use the Verizon network. what is the model number on the back?


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